Whether the term cold fights cold is technically true or false, researchers and scientists are optimistic that coughing, wheezing and spluttering masses that hit the streets every winter is soon going to be a thing of the past thanks to the new progress made towards the invention of an antiviral drug.
Antibiotics are prescribed by doctors which help kill bacteria. Likewise, antivirals can kill multiple viruses, hepatitis virus, HIV and the severe cold and flu and also help us to cure from deadly strains like Sars and bird flu. Vaccinations are very virus specific.
Draco is being developed by a scientist named Todd Rider who works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It has proven to be successful against all 15 viruses with the experiments carried out on human tissue and mice. The viruses include common cold, swine flu, polio, dengue and Ebola.
“I studied both biology and engineering back in the dark ages and really wanted to combine those studies,” Todd Rider said in an interview. The natural proteins in any infected cell can detect the presence of the virus. These proteins are too sensitive to the RNA, double stranded present in the virus, he explained.
HOW THE DRUG WORKS
The natural protein are bound to another natural protein that are present in cells and as a result trigger the cell. This helps the new protein to penetrate into the cell while the drug travels to every cell in the body but only activates in the infected cells.
As a result of which the host virus cell dies.
The ability of computers to analyse the information on DNA and genetics of viruses has widened the understanding of the working of the micro organisms resulting to the closeness in understanding of the antiviral drugs.
Cambridge University discovered that the cells have an internal system that fights and kills viruses.
Dr Leo James is now heading the study on ways to finding a drug which can kill the virus within the cell itself.
An anti viral drug developed by Professor Peter Palese, proved to be successful against influenza and slightly less against other viruses. Dr. Benhur Lee introduced a new drug which is effective against pox and Ebola virus mainly because of the greasy lipid envelope or outer membrane.
Despite evident successes, Dr James maintains some scepticism about Rider’s study.
“It is potentially very exciting but because the results are so unusual and because it was published in an unusual journal it needs to be proven by others,” he says.
Science definitely proves to be one of the major boons to the mankind.